When my dad decided to relocate to South Carolina and live near us, I was absolutely delighted. I told numerous friends that “it was the best gift ever.” My mom had passed away only months before and I wanted to be able to visit with him daily. We had been separated by 700 miles for twenty-five years. Yes, I was a Daddy’s girl, and as an only child, maybe that title was doubled. So Dad moved, leaving the house he had built in 1952.
We found a rental property for him, but he wanted a home of his own again. He was eighty-one years old and still very independent, but he did want me to preview some possible properties first. I found some homes that I thought might work, however, according to him, they were too big or just not right in some way. After a few months I was becoming frustrated. Of course, I should have realized that God had a plan for us. It would be in His time and not mine.
On Election Day of 2000, Jim took me to our property in Bucksport via a new way. We passed through a charming little area, and I saw a cute mobile home with a well-kept yard and a “For Sale” sign displayed. Yes, I thought, this place would be perfect for Dad. I called him on my cell phone and he hurried over to join me. Well, he finally seemed pleased also and asked me to call the real estate to make an appointment to view the inside.
When we saw the interior, both of us were pleased. A sweet elderly lady owned it. She wanted to return to her hometown in Kansas. The trailer looked brand new and was immaculate. My dad more than approved and I was beyond ecstatic. Not only was it a fit for him, it was only three miles from our home. Yes, God had answered our prayers (that is, Jim’s and mine). You see at this time I was not sure about my dad’s salvation, but God had special things in store for us.
Dad moved into his new home in early December and was quite pleased with his purchase. His next door neighbor was a single mom, an African-American lady, who also had her teenage daughter living with her. She and Dad developed an interesting relationship. He didn’t like neighbors who “bothered” him, but Dorothy appeared to have a special touch. He would occasionally mention that he had helped her in some small way, and I was glad that he had someone he tolerated living next door although I did try to visit almost every day.
As he began having health concerns, I later discovered that he was confiding more in her than in me. He told me he’d had some pain but didn’t want to see a doctor. I tried to honor all my dad’s requests so this wasn’t up for discussion. However, one day he revealed that he’d mention this to Dorothy and said, “Guess what she did?” Well,I had no clue and he responded that she’d put one hand on his chest and one on his back and prayed for him. What a brave lady! I was speechless! Finally I mumbled,”Wasn’t that nice?” and prayed silently. You see I still wasn’t sure how he felt about God. We never discussed religion or politics. It was safer to keep him happy and let him lead the way. I should say let God lead the way. Much to my surprise and delight, Dad agreed that it was a nice thing for Dorothy to have prayed for him. Wow, I couldn’t wait to get home and share the good news with Jim!
On another visit, my Dad mentioned that he might get a new truck. He was definitely thinking about it and told me that if he did, he’d give Dorothy his ’93 Hyundai with only 14,000 miles on it. I was blown away by this since my dad was not known for his generosity except towards me. I told him that was a good idea and rushed home to share more good news with Jim. I was seeing his heart warm toward others and thanked God for answers to prayer from Jim and me. I’d become concerned with his frugal attitude after he’d moved closer to us and wanted him to enjoy the time he had left here on earth.
After living near Dorothy for almost three years, he took ill quite suddenly and agreed to see a doctor. Things became critical quickly, and he was admitted to intensive care in the early morning hours of November 20, 2003. Dorothy called me later that morning. Her only question was “Is Peter saved?” I replied that I honestly didn’t know. She then commented that we didn’t have any time to waste. We both decided that Jim should be the one to speak with my dad regarding salvation.
God had a different plan, but first, let me share that Dorothy came to the hospital with her two older children that I had not previously met. She wasn’t able to see my dad so she shared her love with me. Our minister came the next day and accomplished what we all wanted for Dad … salvation, two days later. Dad passed away the following day.
The day after he passed Dorothy came to our home to extend her sympathy and love. We hugged, laughed and cried over “Peter’s” life near both of us. We praised God for enabling our minister to reach him. I can still remember the smile on my Dad’s face and the glow that seemed to surround his face after that special prayer in intensive care. I thanked her for her concern and Christian love for my dad. Oh, we gave her his car! She was pleased, but hadn’t expected anything.She was a very special neighbor and still holds a dear spot in my heart. She not only extended Christian love but cared about his soul. She wanted to see that he was safe for eternity. I can’t thank the Lord enough for His love and for Dorothy’s love. He knew exactly where Peter needed to be as his life drew to a close. Thank You, Lord, and thank you, Dorothy.